Energy Policy

Meet me in the middle?

John McCain and Joe Lieberman circa 2003 when they co-sponsored bipartisan climate change legislation
Senators Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) and John McCain (R-Arizona) authored an early and innovative cap and trade program for US emissions, recognizing the opportunity for a market-based solution to an environmental problem.

Today, American politics appears to be polarized, with loud voices on the left and right drowning out anybody in the middle. This tendency extends to views on climate change, with skeptics and alarmists dominating public discourse. As in politics, there are many individuals and organizations in the middle of the climate debate that have difficulty being heard. These so-called climate centrists acknowledge that humans are warming the Earth and that it is prudent to be good stewards of the natural services provided by the climate system. Although their philosophical and political homes may be in the right or left wings, they challenge their peers on the right and left to act on mitigating climate change. They offer innovative, yet common sense solutions to the problem.

We don't *have* to be polarized on climate change based on our political preferences. The Climate Solutions Caucus demonstrates that. As does our long history of important environmental and climate-related initiatives supported and in some cases spearheaded by conservatives.

  • New York Times article about the landmark 2003 McCain-Lieberman climate change bill to impose a nation-wide cap and trade system for emissions reductions
  • Creation of the EPA - under President Richard Nixon (R) - he also was in office when the present-day Clean Water Act was passed (all links about its history on EPA site no longer work, though)
  • Clean Air Act - passed unanimously - 73 -0!